Point Loma Nazarene University
Contact: Nicholle Jaramillo
Point TV: Channel 23 Marketing & Promotions Mgr.
Advisor: Alan Hueth (619) 849-2358
Date: February 25, 2011
Written by: Nicholle Jaramillo
PLNU Students and Faculty Attend the 2011 Sundance Film Festival
Every year film buffs travel to the nation’s largest independent film festival: Sundance in Park City, Utah. The weeklong event is a premier showcase for American and international independent filmmakers. This year, a group of PLNU students and Point TV staff traveled to the snowy city to preview some of 2011’s dramatic, documentary, feature-length and short films.
Ashley Gulden, a senior film studies major, experienced the festival as part of a PLNU course taught by Dr. Alan Hueth. Students were responsible for reading and discussing Craig Detweiler's book, “Into The Dark.” Detweiler’s book presents ideas of finding God in some of the most popular, dark Hollywood films. Gulden says the book challenged her to think in different ways about film.
“It expanded and challenged my views in regards to the content of film but it also reminded me of the power of God and his ability to reach people in dark theatres,” said Gulden.
While at the festival, Gulden was responsible for reviewing a variety of films and writing ten, two-page film analyses and one term paper. She gained admiration for the challenging world of independent film, and also realized how various films challenged her own personal beliefs.
“Sundance is all about afflicting the comfortable. These films made you reflect on your beliefs and pre-conceived notions of life and they challenged those views,” said Gulden.
“It was emotionally draining to sit through five films a day, but it molded my stance on filmmaking and who I am as a filmmaker.”
Over 100 students and faculty also participated in the Windrider Forum as a part of Sundance. Windrider is a non-profit, Christian organization that brings together Christians from all over the country to meet, screen, and talk about films from a Christian perspective. This includes students and faculty from Biola University, Taylor University, Fuller Theological Seminary, Regent University, and other schools.
“The Windrider Forum is great for creating some focused reflection, thinking, and discussion about the films that we see at Sundance. And the input from other students and faculty helps us all come together and learn from each other,” said Hueth.
Windrider also links Christians students and faculty with the professional filmmakers.
Interactions included everything from question and answer sessions with Vera Farmiga about her
film “Higher Ground,” to a personal sit-down with the director of photography of "Fred and
Erika Scopelli, Point TV productions manager, was inspired by “Like Crazy” director Drake Doremus: “He drew from raw, real experience to bring the love story to life, and it encouraged me to write about what I know,” said Scopelli. “The best stories come from personal experience.”
Andrew Norbeck, a sophomore film studies major, was one of many who took in all that Sundance had to offer.
“I believe filmmakers are the poets and storytellers of our time,” said Norbeck. “Students from all over the country meeting in one building to experience and discuss one of the biggest and best film gatherings in America in the world, how could you pass on this opportunity?”
While some students attended the festival as a class, Point TV staff also had an opportunity to join in the fun. As representatives of student media, Sundance was all about making connections with industry professionals and students alike. Sarah Willer, a senior broadcast journalism major, was able to meet up with PLNU alumni Destin Daniel Cretton, Beckah Van Bruggen and Joel P West, who are already making a name for themselves in the film industry.
“Being able to attend Sundance opens up the door for film and broadcast students to make real connections with people who are already in the industry,” said Willer. “It's more than networking, it's building friendships.”
Point TV staff and students Sundance 2011 “must sees”:
Martha Marcy May Marlene
For more information regarding PLNU’s trip to Sundance, please contact Alan Hueth at AlanHueth@pointloma.edu.